The ER Visit

5:15 PM.

He was thinking, I should call Dad. See if he’s out of the hospital and how the colonoscopy went.

Pain stabbed his pelvis. Sucking in air, he bent down, then controlled his breathing and studied the pain. He’d never felt something from that region before. Seemed too low for gas…but what else could it be? He was a little concerned. He’d already had four bowel movements for the day, one more than normal. All of it looked good (yeah, he looked – always). Everything else felt fine. He checked the area for discoloration, bloating, and tenderness. Nothing but pain.

He remained puzzled. It’d been a good day. He and his wife, Brenda, had done some cleaning, then taken hazardous waste to the White City center. After that, a whimsical stop at Dairy Queen. Been a year since they’d been to one. Brenda ordered a fish sandwich and small Reese’s Blizzard. He ordered a small Thin Mint Blizzard and a cheeseburger. They’d slathered his cheeseburger in mustard and ketchup, ruining the flavor for him. They’d eaten in the car in the parking lot. He usually avoided food like this but it was a whim. An indulgence because he and his wife used to go to DQ on dates. It was the only place to go in their home town back then, two years short of a half century ago. After DQ, they’d gone to the park and read books, then went for a walk.

Now, home, and this pain. The pain was increasing, stabbing through his left side, up his back. Motrin was found and swallowed. He peed…a little. Another bowel movement, very loose, followed.

The pain kept growing. He had Flomax on hand for his BHIP. He was beginning to think kidney stones. Flomax worked on relaxing organs and muscles, allowing an easier urine flow. If he had a kidney stone, maybe Flomax would help pass it. Meanwhile, he’d chugged a liter of water. Increasing, the pain encompassed all of the left side of his lower back and his pelvis. Not his right side, and nothing above his rib cage or in his upper abdomen. It was hours before he was due to take his daily Flomax, but he downed one.

An hour had passed. A little liquid had dribbled out. Oh, no, could this be another blocked urethra? He’d gone through that with his BHP two years ago. But this didn’t feel the same. Maybe memories of it were wrong. But wouldn’t the Flomax give some relief?

8:15, with the pain intensifying and options dwindling, he informed his wife. “Sounds like a kidney stone,” she replied.

He agreed. He thought he could tough it out but the pain was growing. He hated to say it, but he thought he needed to go to the emergency room. She agreed, donned bra and lippy, got her mask, a book, and the car keys. They headed to the local hospital.

An efficient, friendly staff took him in. Each introduced themselves and explained their function. Each came across as intelligent, friendly, and professional.

Meanwhile, he listened in on the patient in the next room. Narco overdose brought in by ambulance. He’d just been in on the twentieth last month for the same thing. He’d gone into the Safeway bathroom, smoked heroin, and passed out. Could he call his wife and let her know he was okay? Were the police coming? No he was assured, they weren’t.

He reflected on the different windows into lives. He never saw the man next door. His voice sounded rough and tired.

He wrote a short short story in his head while he passed the time. Time was spent looking at this vitals. Pulse stayed around 71. O2 saturation was 98 to 100 percent. Blood pressure was 155 over 92, yeah, high, but not a surprise, as his BP always reacts. He takes Amlodipine for it.

Two hours later, after pain meds, urine and blood samples, and CT scans, confirmation came. A 2 mm kidney stone on his left side in the ureter. Another, larger one, in his right kidney.

2mm. He was appalled that a kidney stone had reduced him to this. Collection equipment was given for him take home so the kidney stone could be captured and identified. Oxycodone acetaminophen was issued for pain. Why, wasn’t that the stuff they’d given him for his broken arm last year? He still had twenty tabs of that at home because he’d never taken it. Hell, if he’d just taken on of those… But, really, he didn’t know what was causing the problem. The pain had largely dissipated at this point. Instructions required to drink lots of water. Sure, he understood that.

He got home at 11:30 and peed 250 ml into the bottle. No kidney stone, but no pain. But…pain killers, right? He sat down to catch up on reading the news on his ‘puter and researched kidney stones. The pain crept back in. At 1:30 AM, it struck as it had over eight hours before. He downed a pain killer and a half liter of water. After twenty five minutes, the pain subsided. He fell asleep.

This morning, he felt fine. No pain. He peed into his collection bottle and hunted the stone. Nothing. Maybe the little bugger got away. Maybe it remained in there.

Mild pain oozed out of his right flank.

Wondering if the other kidney was beginning his move, he drank a liter of water.

The kidney stone watch continues…

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